Hump Day as an Opportunity


What Does Hump Day Mean?

This expression has long puzzled me. The definition says “Wednesday, regarded as the midpoint of a typical work week”, and then goes on to say this – “it’s hump day and perhaps the toughest day of the week for you.” Now, why would Wednesday be the toughest day of the week?

As I think about this, I’m confused. It feels like we’re celebrating, or at least condoning a relationship with work, school and life that somehow devalues the week and praises the weekend. I heard someone say last week, “I live for Fridays!” and I thought, “what about the other six days of the week?”

The New York Times published an article stating that a heart attack was 20 percent greater on Mondays for adult men and 15 percent greater for adult women, which they had initially blamed on the stress of returning to work but said additional factors may be involved.[1] If we believe returning to work on Monday can cause so much stress that it effects our health, then why aren’t we looking deeper into this? I would also think additional factors that could contribute to the increased heart attacks on Monday could be or our coping habits we’ve developed for escaping from the work week, which can include excessive drinking, smoking, partying, eating, exercise, tv watching, etc. I wonder what would happen if we started working to seek the opportunity in this situation to make changes?

I know some businesses include employee wellbeing in their cultures, and I’ve read about a lot of organizations that are looking for ways to create a healthier employee. I wonder what might happen if we reshaped the problem as an opportunity using the framework of appreciative inquiry?

What might the landscape look like if we asked a question like –

  • How might we structure our company culture so that employees look forward to coming to work and feel valued and respected here?

  • What if we asked the employees that question in groups with managers and CEOs?

  • How might it create whole system change to recreate the work day, the space, and the policies and procedures?

  • What if the solution is not to fix what we have, but to explore what might be without the limitations of the current structure?

When I started working, we didn’t have computers. You got mail in a mail room, and we used carbon paper to make copies of the things we wrote. You’d think things were very different then, but really, they weren’t. We sat in workspaces similar to the ones available today, we worked the same types of shifts, had the same types of bosses, and dealt with a lot of the same issues. It feels a little like the world changed, and we just keep adjusting our old system by layering and layering new things on a foundation that isn’t big enough or strong enough to support it.

When I read about education, the comments are very similar. The current structure of having kids sit at their desks for hours and hours a day and then do hours of homework at night isn’t meeting the demands of the future workforce. Businesses need their own training departments, and Corporate Universities to give employees the skills necessary to work. What might happen if we included Universities and schools in that same conversation I referred to earlier with employees and managers and CEOs? Is it possible we could look for community solutions to create foundations for success?

In a world with so much opportunity, it seems very limiting and sad to stop one day a week and say, “Today is Hump Day, let me climb to the top of this very small hump and slide into the weekend,” when I could be saying, “Today is Wednesday. I wonder what mountain I could climb today?”


Calendering My Sleep


I am the Master of my calendar. I sit down weekly with my family and schedule out the week – who needs to be where, when, etc. I schedule in meditation, work, commuting, coaching sessions, workshops, personal growth and development… I make sure I schedule in time with my parents, kids, and friends, as well as volunteering…but just because I make sure everything on my calendar gets done, doesn’t mean I really SHOW UP. Sometimes I am just sleepwalking from one task to another.

I’ll go to meditation, but I am so scattered that after like 30 minutes I wonder why I even came, but I stay for the hour because I scheduled an hour. I sit down to talk to my son, but half way through his sentence I realize I’m not even listening because my mind is a mile away and I must ask him to repeat what he just said, or I call my best friend, but I’m so distracted by other things I keep putting her on hold or answering someone else. I decided I wanted to do more than manage my time and cross things off a to-do list, I wanted to learn to manage my energy, so I can SHOW UP in my life.

I called my friend Christina and we set out on the task of working with my energy. I took some time to look at the four major sources of energy: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual and see what they meant to me. I decided to tackle my hardest issue first – Physical.

I don’t know about you, but I struggle to get enough sleep. One way I know I am not getting enough sleep is that my body doesn’t wake up in the morning except to the sound of my pesky alarm, which I have gotten in the bad habit of snoozing at least three times before rising. To focus on other physical things like exercise and eating, I needed to make sure I got enough sleep first. I also though it would be the easiest to start with… nope!

What I found was that to get enough sleep, I needed to go to bed earlier – A LOT earlier. I committed to go to bed at 10:00 each evening, which sounded reasonable and totally doable. It sounded that way until I realized that some nights I didn’t get home until 9:00pm and I had a lot to do BEFORE I went to bed. I was going to have to make some real changes to make that a reality.

I’ve started, but it definitely isn’t a habit yet. Hopefully it will become second nature as I continue to focus my attention to it. I have noticed a difference in how I feel and how I show up already, so I’m excited to add to the Physical energy source. My next area of concentration will be nutrition.

What is Energy Management?

Energy management is a system for thriving among the demands of modern living. Today’s world is 24/7- work never stops and the boundaries between work and home may be blurred. Between being constantly connected and working long hours, we may find it difficult to find the time to take care for our health, spend quality time with loved ones and do the things we enjoy! Humans are not machines, though sometimes our work environments assume we operate like them. Humans are designed to work in a cyclical, rhythmic way that requires periods of rest to renew energy in between times of exertion.

 Managing energy is an alternative to managing time. Maybe you have tried systems of time management before, but nothing really changes in your ability to get things done. Maybe you even feel stretched thinner than ever. Managing time does not take into account that in order to show up and be fully engaged in what you do, it is important to manage your own energy.

Consider this scenario: You have decided to commit to an exercise routine and schedule a run outdoors after work. You have good intentions, but every day you come home from work too late and too tired to actually lace up your sneakers and hit the pavement. You were managing your time, but weren’t managing your energy in a way where you could actually follow through. Managing energy would look more like scheduling your workout for a time when you know it makes sense for your energy levels. This might mean running in the morning, which could even increase the energy levels you feel during the work day!

 Energy Management takes into account that humans are complex systems of mental, physical, emotional and spiritual energy. When we can care for, build awareness around and tap into these energy sources, we equip ourselves with the tools for a highly-engaged life. When we are highly engaged, we are “physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused and spiritual aligned” (Loehr & Shultz). This new paradigm of high engagement requires a fundamental shift in how we view our lives! Effective energy management allows us to allocate our resources to the tasks that are most important and create healthy habits that result in abundant energy.

 That’s why I developed the Energy Management course. How might learning to manage your energy create a positive shift in your own life?